The president of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu, has chaired the inauguration ceremony of Viralgen Vector Core, the first plant of modified viruses with Pro10 technology in Europe to cure genetic diseases.
San Sebastian, Spain, September 2018
Gene therapy helping to cure the most important diseases of the 21st century; This is the goal of Viralgen Vector Core, the new vector “factory” for clinical trials of gene therapy treatments, inaugurated in San Sebastian that will begin its manufacturing at the beginning of 2019. It is a joint venture between Askbio Biopharmaceuticals and Columbus Venture Partners, an investment fund specialized in biotechnology. “Viralgen will be the key to develope the cure for many genetic diseases,” said Javier García, CEO of Viralgen.
The event was presided over by Iñigo Urkullu, president of Basque Country Government, who pointed out that “Viralgen represents a proof of the strong commitment to the biotechnology sector in the Basque Country.” Along with Javier García, general director of Viralgen, have been Dr. Jude Samulski, founder and scientific director of Askbio; Arantxa Tapia, Minister of Economic Development and Infrastructure, Jon Darpón, Health Minister, Ainhoa Aizpuru, Deputy for Economic Promotion and Rural Environment, Markel Olano, General Deputy of Gipuzkoa and Eneko Goia, Mayor of San Sebastián.
The new facilities, an area of 1,800 square meters and equipped with the latest pharmaceutical production technology, have led an investment of 10 million euros. It has the capacity of simultaneous manufacturing of different products in 3 GMP rooms. In the same way, they have created 40 highly skilled jobs, as quality control and R&D.
Viralgen is a joint venture between Askbio Biopharmaceuticals and Columbus Venture Partners. Askbio is one of the most important companies in gene therapy in the world. Columbus Venture Partners is a Spanish venture capital fund that provides a unique approach to invest in opportunities that are in an initial phase and have a high potential for growth in the life sciences sector in Spain.
Regarding the choice of its location, San Sebastian, it should be stand out that the city “is a powerful center of global talent attraction” said the general director of Viralgen, Javier García, who highlited that “San Sebastian offers important advantages in terms of access to talent, as well as world-class infrastructure. It has a powerful offer for personal development and wellfare, while Viralgen is a very attractive proposal for professional growth”.
What is gene therapy and how does it help?
Gene therapy is an advanced therapy that focuses on the use of technologies based on viruses that deliver therapeutic genes to human cells to correct or modify the genetic defect directly. This feature makes it the ideal treatment for monogenic diseases, whose patients do not have treatment at present.
Harnessing viruses – also known as vectors – with their naturally developed capabilities to deliver therapeutic genetic material to live cells, is one of the most exciting advances in modern medicine, and has broad future therapeutic implications for a wide range of diseases. Viralgen will create the pharmaceutical product with GMP quality, this means, for human use, for the clinical trials of companies that develop therapies in the field of gene therapy. It incorporates the most advanced production technology and an international team of more than 40 highly trained people.